When you think of St. Patrick’s Day you probably think of green beer, shamrocks and leprechauns. For me it was much more traditional and less gimmicky. The usual St. Patrick’s Day recipes like corned beef and Irish Soda bread. In New York St. Patrick’s Day was a huge holiday, not so much in LA. The Irish were as passionate about their traditions as the Italians. You don’t get that sense in LA.

St. Patrick’s Day Memories

My sister is 18 years older than me and she married an Irish man. So while I am 100% Italian, I grew up surrounded by the most wonderful Italian and and Irish family.

As a special treat, there were a few times when we piled into the car and made the trek early in the morning from Long Island to Manhattan to watch the parade on Fifth avenue. That was so fun. What a sight to see.

Sometimes we would start the day with a real Irish breakfast. That meant bacon, sausages, eggs and soda bread. The meats coming from my daddy’s butcher shop. For an Italian girl my sister made the best Irish Soda bread and it was my favorite dish she made on St. Patrick’s day. I’d fill up on the Irish soda bread, lathering it with lots of Irish butter.

The one constant on St. Patrick’s Day at my home with my sister, brother-in-law, and their 3 kids was corned beef, boiled potatoes, and cabbage for dinner. I wasn’t a big fan, but being the great cook that my amazing sister was, I made the best of it. 
Even though it’s lent, the rules would be a little relaxed for the day and there would be a few glasses of Irish Whiskey and Guinness shared. 

Cooking Up New Memories with St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

Some of my sister’s traditions I’ve kept, and a little baileys might end up in my coffee, on St. Patrick’s Day. This year, I recommend skipping the green food and trying a few new St. Patrick’s Day recipes at home with your family.

Here are some I’ll be making with my granddaughter Clover:

1. How We Live’s Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes and Carrots:

You can’t go wrong with a classic.

2. Kara Lydon’s Irish Soda Bread:

While I don’t love that she uses half the butter with Greek yogurt (the butter is the best part), it is probably for the best. 

3. Bringing It Home’s French Onion Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils & Creamy Cauliflower Potato Mash:

Both the Irish and the British claim to have invented Shepherd’s pie. I like to think the more traditionally Irish meal is lamb-made Shepherd’s pie, and the British version is beef-made cottage pie.. 



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